Rewarding work as a rural large animal veterinarian

31 May 2021
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Being able to work closely with clients who have become great friends and having the opportunity to throw ideas around to solve any issues at hand, make veterinary work enjoyable for rural large animal veterinarian Dr Neil Farmer.

Living near Rockhampton in rural Queensland, he balances seasonal beef cattle veterinary work with running a 6000-acre cattle property, and raising a young family with his wife Clare.

After graduating from the University of Queensland in 2008, Dr Farmer initially worked in mixed-animal practice at Childers, followed by locum stints around Queensland.

In 2011, he returned to his family cattle property, Lake Learmonth about 45km north of Rockhampton whilst also working in a local mixed-animal practice, before starting his own business - Farmer’s Vet Service, to service the local area.

“My work is mainly routine cattle pregnancy-testing, bull testing work and disease investigations for extensive beef cattle operations, with a bit of horse and small animal work thrown in to keep things interesting!” said Dr Farmer.

A busy life full of rewards

Juggling the demands of managing the cattle property, with off-farm work, and ensuring there’s quality family time is always a challenge.

“Whether it be prioritising cattle work between home or clients, answering texts, emails and calls literally 24-7, events for the kids and family – including now doing the school run, there is no after-hours centre to divert the phone to, plus people know exactly where I live and will drop in,” said Dr Farmer.

“The days are often from daylight to after dark so making the effort to put the phone down when back in the house and blank time out in the diary to get away with family and visit friends or simply to catch up on office work and accounts is challenging!”

The rewards of working in a small close-knit community that quickly become your good friends make the hard work and long days worthwhile.

“The rural sector as a whole is so appreciative of anyone who will put the effort in to assist and take the time to explain, let alone crack a bad dad-joke and join in with local social events,” said Dr Farmer.

“Being able to raise the kids alongside the vet work is terrific - them seeing and discussing the various cases that come along is always a pleasure - especially hearing back from the teacher about their various classroom discussions!”

For more information about pursuing a career as a veterinarian, visit this link.

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